Posts Tagged ‘funny

05
Apr
09

Dead Snow: The Next Great Zombie Film

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

For those of you who may not know, I have a serious love for anything involving the use of zombies or the undead.  From movies to video games to literature, I am fascinated by how versatile they are in any storytelling medium.  So imagine how excited I was when I first heard about a foreign zombie flick, taking place in the snowy mountains, that feature…(drum roll please)…Nazi Zombies.

Oh yes kids, it’s true.  And you know what is even better?  It is a superb horror flick.

Now, a little history.  There have been some exploitation style movies, back in the 60’s, 70’s and I think even up until the 80’s, that have tackled the idea of having undead nazi soldiers, but most were completely and utterly terrible.  I’m not talking “funny Ha-Ha get drunk with your friends and watch it” terrible.  I’m talking bad to the point of nausea.  For evidence of this, please see (read: download illegally for free) Zombie Lake. /End history lesson.

But enough wasted time establishing the immense uphill battle that Dead Snow faced, and let’s get on with the review.  The plot of Dead snow is a simple one, but simple doesn’t imply that it isn’t well utilized and perfectly solid.  Some 20 somethings are going on vacation, and decide to go up to a cabin in the snowy mountain woods.  The “old crazy story teller guy” warns them of some old wives tale about soldiers who died in these woods surrounding the cabin.  Of course, our 20 somethings, including a great “movie geek guy”, cast him off as a crazy local, and shortly there after, all hell breaks lose in the form, you guessed it, Nazi Zombies.

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

The magic of Dead Snow isn’t it’s plot though, it’s in the characters and the fantastically rewarding pace.  The group of friends aren’t typical zombie fodder, there isn’t a clear cut stereotypical “slut”, nor is there the guy who is hopelessly in love with a girl he can never get, and there isn’t a clear “dick” character, who is rude and crass but painfully funny and accurate in his social observations.  Instead, everyone character feels a bit more three-dimensional, they all seem to have a good, general sense of wit, and while they each have unique personality traits, like a knack for humor or a knowledge of movies, they come on as more than just TV sitcom characters who are helping to strengthen rigid stereotyping.  Also, characters evolve, something rarely seen in horror today.

The pace is the second most important piece to the Dead Snow puzzle.  From the opening scene, we are treated to classical music as a Jane Doe gets hunted down by our ruthless zombies at night.  This is a great way to introduce people to the movie antagonists without spoiling there appearance, and combining it with a classic misdirection “boo” scare makes it all the more fun.  There is no notion that in order to create good characters, that we the audience can relate to and invest in, we have to stare at them doing mundane things for 45 minutes.  Dead Snow introduces everyone quickly, letting you adapt to their personal behavior and traits on the fly, all the while keeping the tension high by inventing some new and resurrecting some old classic boo scares.  And when the well dries up on tension and suspense, the movie goes into absolute overdrive, providing the kind of kick ass orgy of violence only true horror can deliver.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

The last thing I would like to touch on is the special effects.  Minimal CGI means that lots of fake blood, limbs, and intestines get strewn all over the place, and the choreographing of the fight scenes is so tight and visceral, that it really helps bring you into the struggle.  It’s a scrappy, survivor type of fighting, nothing fancy or cool about it.  It’s a nice contrast to the modern day practice  of ridiculously complicated and illogical battles between good and evil in horror movies, when instead you would just be reduced to dirty tactics and savagery in the case you were ever attacked by the undead.

So, in the interest of keeping this one short and sweet (just how I like my women) I will wrap this up by saying that Dead Snow has all the earmarks of the next big independent horror film, especially in the flooded sub-division of Zombie films.  It shows an intimate knowledge and respect of its’ ancestors, most notably Raimi and Romero, but it also comes packing a slew of original ideas, as well as innovative implementations of standard tricks of the horror movie trade.   It is  unpredictable, direct, funny, unapologetic, and wholly satisfying.

It is at this point in time where you should be googling your ass off trying to find this flick.

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

11
Feb
09

Internet Oddities – Feburary Edition

While I put the finishing touches on my Friday the 13th retrospective in anticipation of what be the most hyped up and possible disastrous remake of all time, I will share with you my recent Internet video findings.  This will be a mix of both upcoming horror trailers, along with some funny stuff.  Enjoy!

YEAH I KNOW YOU ALL HAVE SEEN THIS TRAILER BUT I DON’T CARE.  I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT FOR WATCHMEN!

GET PUMPED KIDS.  FRIDAY THE 13TH IN 2 DAYS, QUICKLY FOLLOWED BY THE WATCHMEN MARCH 6TH!


09
Jan
09

Internet Oddities January 2009

It may be a new year, but there is no shortage of viral lunacy circulating the Internet.  So, while we cook up some new original material behind the scenes, have a gander and kill some brain cells from this garbage, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.


P.S. I also included some trailers for upcoming flicks I think we should have on our collective radar.




08
Jan
09

Funny Games directed by Michael Haneke

Yup. You'll be bored to tears.

Yup. You'll be bored to tears. And probably really fucking mad about losing 2 hours.

Whenever I embark upon writing a review, I try my hardest not to bog you, the loyal readers, down with a bunch of intellectual mumbo jumbo and background info.  Unfortunately, this review can not only benefit from an explanation, but it demands one.

In 1997, Michael Haneke made a film called Funny Games.  It  garnered some controversy, and like all shocking and experimental films, gained a devoted fan base, as well as harsh criticism.

The film was something of an exploration of modern day societies, in particular middle to middle upper class Americans, acceptance AND passion for violence.

10 years later, with NOTHING different with the exception of shooting locale and cast, Haneke remade his own film.  I personally found this quite perplexing, especially since it made me feel that even if I enjoyed the remake, which I planned to see first, I would never need to see the original due to them being, essentially, carbon copies of each other.

Now, instead of wishing I could’ve enjoyed 2 different, yet similar films, I wish I had never known about either.

“Two psychotic young men take a family hostage in their cabin.”

IMDB sums it up best.  And that’s it.  Say goodbye to 2 hours of your life.

Haneke must really think highly of himself.  I mean, to have the balls to remake your own film means that you must think it’s pretty important, important enough to have some major Hollywood actors in it and be shown to a new, wider American audience.  And really, it shows in his work.

I’ve watched some shit movies in my day, and I am proud as all fucking get out about it.  I’ve seen things that barely constitute as actual cinema…and enjoyed it.  The common thread between “bad” movies I wound up enjoying?  The people behind the camera understood, even if they don’t admit, what their movie truly is.  If someone is making a movie about lesbian vampires raping small schoolgirls with baseball bats up the ass, they might try to explain how this is a political “message”, but in their heart of hearts, they know they are just shoveling fantasies to anyone desperate enough to pay $20 bucks plus shipping to satisfy their own demented perversions.  The proof of this is, we never have people grow up making lesbian vampire baseball bat schoolgirl rape flicks, and then go on to direct something the likes of  The Passion of the Christ.

Haneke though, seems like the kind of guy who would have a rib removed so he could suck his own dick.  He seems like the kind of guy who would hold his dick so sacred, no one else could pleasure it but him.  Funny Games is, at it’s best, an exercise in how to take talented actors and a descent plot, and make the most unwatchable movie possible out of those ingredients.

If only I had a bag on my head for this whole "movie"

If only I had a bag on my head for this whole "movie"

Oh, and before you get on your high horse, yeah YOU the reader who will undoubtedly stumble upon this article and spout out mantra’s like “you didn’t “get” it” and “it’s art, not film”, Fuck You.  I got it.  I understand EXACTLY what Haneke is trying…TRYING to accomplish.  What he’s trying to accomplish is to keep the audience focused.  See fellow Midnighters, Haneke, about 4 times through the film, has his lead, and main heavy, Paul (played beautifully by Michael Pitt, unfortunately a wasted performance) look into the camera and either give us a telling look or a nod, or directly speak to us, the audience.  Haneke does this in order to “snap” the audience out of getting to into the movie and rooting for the good guys.  He wants us to face the fact that we, the audience, don’t approve of psychos killing innocents, but DO approve of heroes killing villains.  He’s trying to make us look within ourselves, at our own justifications and rationalizations we use for committing horrible acts of violence, and in some cases, even commit murder.

His head is in the right place, he just forgot one thing.  A movie.

He didn’t need to make the good guys win.  Haneke just needed a point.  Like most art films, he does an admirable job of pointing things out, making acute observations, and addressing a hot button issue.  But when it comes to making his final stand on the argument his film is making for almost 2 unbearable hours, he simply decides to plead the fifth, by restarting the games all over again with a neighbor and then rolling credits.  It’s like reading a college term paper without a thesis.  Sure, you’ve proven you can write halfway descent, and at great length, but you never prove anything.  You just blow the whistle, but then run when people show up asking “what is that fucking noise?”

Here's Naomi Watts tied up.  I have to give you something in return for reading this right?

Here's Naomi Watts tied up. I have to give you something in return for reading this right?

The most heinous crime though, is the fact that Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbet seemed to really believe in this picture.  Their acting is unreasonably good, and it shows a tremendous amount of professionalism on their parts, considering how many LONG (and by long I mean 10 minute plus static shots of the actors with no cuts) scenes their were, almost all including intense emotional performances.  All wasted, in my opinion.

Funny Games is the perfect example of why terms like “Art House” and “Artsy-Fartsy” are dirty words to most movie fans.  It seems like everytime I take the dive into the deep end of the “Art” film pool, I wind up hitting my head on the bottom.  Because being told that the water is deep, and the water actually being deep, are two completely different things.  Haneke uses nothing more than pretenious, polite dialogue, “shocking” off screen kills, and Sesame Street style gimmicks (remember how all the muppets used to talk to us, even while in the middle of a conversation with someone?) to try and pass off his boring, uninspired schlock as something more than the ultimate tease and a full on slap into the face of any self-respecting movie-goer.

It in my sincerest hope that this movie, via any medium, fails horribly.

Michael Haneke, please follow these instructions.

Michael Haneke, please follow these instructions.

06
Jan
09

The Substitute 2007 (a.k.a. Vikaren)

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

First off, let me commend the fine job Ghost House Underground has done collecting and distributing indie horror films in their first year in existence.  So far, I’ve only seen Dance of the Dead and The Substitute, which makes up for 2 of the 8 total films released through Ghost House in 2008, but they have both been dynamite little films.  And even if they wind up being the only 2 good ones out of the bunch (8), it’s still an impressive batting average for a company in it’s rookie year.

Now, onto to the review.

What happens when you combine The Faculty, The Goonies, The Witches and Monster Squad?

If you answered ” a big pile of mish mash poo poo” I totally would’ve agreed with you.

The “young kids vs. a real “monster” their parents don’t believe is real” genre has been around for almost 30 years now, yet it really hasn’t had a shot in the arm in quite some time, and has been done both very well and very poorly in the past.  It has laid fairly dormant for a while.  That is until now.

Leave it to a writer/director from Denmark, Ole Bornedal to breathe new life into a genre that Americans pioneered.

Our story concerns a small 6th grade class that gets the best news a 6th grade class can hope for.  There main teacher has been struck ill, and they will be getting a substitute.  For those of us who remember school, you probably know how exciting this can be.  Little did the kids know however, that there new teacher isn’t some lenient push over they can run rampant over, but instead a woman of immense power and inhuman abilities, who seems to be not of this world.  While there is a little more to the story than simply the young class matching wits with the nefarious new teacher, I’ll leave the details and subplots for you to explore on your own viewing.

Paprika Steen, who plays Ulla, the new mysterious teacher, really steals the show here, alongside the rag-tag, but never annoying, class.  Her performance is a bit of a combination of Famke Janssen’s role in the Faculty, mixed in with The Terminator.  Robotic motions and piercing eyes combine with a forbidden sexy charm and aloofness to make her a villain your never really sure you want to hate, because the “mission” she is here to perform is actually fairly noble.  Her class, led by Carl (Jonas Wandschneider) are also impressive, each filling out roles like the bully, the computer genius (an obvious nod to Data from the Goonies complete with the nerdy specs) the pretty girls, and the love interest for Carl, and so on.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade.  Awesome.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade now a days. Awesome.

Aiding the the solid performances by the main and supporting cast, is Ole Bornedal’s competitent directing.  He never gets in his own way in the pacing department, and when he has to use CGI in order to create a specific effect, he always hides it well, meaning you’ll see no “effects” in broad daylight where you can easily spot, and the make fun of, the lower budget computer animations.  Along side this knowledge, he creates a great auditory mood and visual atmosphere, and while he could have used some colors other than black, grey, white and blue, the style of the film matches the tone and subject matter, while never becoming the main focus.  Something more horror film makers should note, just because a of a scene looks good (well lit and etc.) doesn’t mean it’s a good scene.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love.  You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love. You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

My only complaint is a bit of an unexplained hiccup torwards the finale, by which no means ruins the film, but feels kinda like getting a rug burn from a classmate for no reason.  Other than that small, but completely noticeable wrinkle, the only hump to get over is how willing are you to watch an R-rated kids vs. monster movie with no gore to speak of, that is driven by clever cat and mouse games, unique takes on the war of wits, and easily loved characters.  The answer to that question should be a deafening yes.

Charm, heart, and originality can all be debated, considering that a film like this couldn’t possible exist without the its obvious predecessors, but I feel this gem has those intangible qualities in spades.  With every flick trying to be the next Saw, the next big souless “Boo Scare” hit, or the next big money remake, The Substitute quietly walks into the fray, sits down, and and nearly aces the test without having to cheat off the smarter students.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

Don’t be shocked when this is remade in 2 years.  The picture above expresses my feelings towards that inevitability.

21
Dec
08

My Favorite Christmas Flicks

Christmas is a time of giving.  Unfortunately,  fans of darker, more alternative cinema usually get nothing in the way of movies geared towards there interests. So for all of you out there who think Santa should be more like this:

gothsantaOR THIS:

hailsanta

Here are my suggestions for a few holiday films that should satisfy both your desire to get into the “spirit” of the season, and your unquenchable lust to see blood split.

santasslaySanta’s Slay is every bit as silly and wild as it’s title and casting (Ex-Wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as Santa) suggests, but despite being a movie i laughed at when I first heard about it, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was.  Plus, it starts off with one of the best scenes in cinematic history.

And if that’s not enough reason to watch this movie, I just don’t know what is.

batman_returns_ver41

Batman Returns, the last Batman movie to be directed by Tim Burton, is kind of like a superhero, Christmas themed acid trip.  Along with a lot of maiming, killing, and a terrific role by Christopher Walken, people often forget that Gotham city is heavily entrenched in the Winter season during the film, making it the perfect movie for all you comic books fans to turn on while remaining in the holiday spirit.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

The Long Kiss Goodnight, directed by the criminally underrated Renny Harlin (who also directed Die hard 2, which pops up on this list as well) is a great little action movie taking place around Christmas.  The whole movie is full of winter scenes, and of course, the awesomeness that is any word Samuel Jackson speaks.  A great flick in it’s own right, made appropriate for this list by the time of year in which it takes place.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

It had to be done.  A Killer, Mutant Snowman movie.  Words can’t describe how terrible this movie is.  But, if you have friends with a high tolerance for garbage, a great sense of humor, and lots of alcohol and/or illegal drugs, this movie can be really really fun.  Shannon Elizabeth is in it, and she is “raped” by the snowman.  How can you not watch?

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man?  I do.

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man? I do.

Another 80’s action classic, taking place mostly on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  This one really put the “buddy-cop” movies on the map, fusing intense, over the top action with quality, mostly conversational humor.  Add a Christmas theme to the proceedings and you got yourself another violent winter classic.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerkoffs and Scumbags.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerk offs and Scumbags.

John McClain has a second run in with some terrorists dirt bags in Die Hard 2, this time in the form of William Saddler, character actor extraordinaire.  Die Hard 2 is universally seen as the only weak link in the “quadrilogy”, but it’s still a perfectly serviceable late night Christmas action romp.  Plus Dennis Franz is in it, and he kind of looks like Santa anyway.

Holy shit.  That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Holy shit. That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Gremlins is one of the best, and only true, Christmas time creature feature movies.  Made back in the golden age of puppets and robot controlled dolls, Gremlins isn’t tainted by shoddy computer graphics or green screen trickery.  It’s an old fashioned mini-monster movie made the way they should all be made, with convincing puppets and prosthetic effects that give you something tangible to fear, or love in the case of Gizmo.  And like most 80’s movies, this one has some truly dark and scary moments, making it perfect for younger audiences and adults.  Long live the Mogwai.

yippee kiya mother fucker.  Merry Christmas.

yippee kiya mother fucker. Merry Christmas.

Die Hard is not only the holy grail of “one man army” action movies, it’s also one of the best Christmas movies ever made.  John McClain’s wise ass comments, the perfect “radio only” sidekick in Ellis, a tremendously devious villain in Gruber, and a supporting cast chock full of talent.  Add to the mix a phenomenal pace, some of the most impressive action scenes to date, and a not one, but two, finales and you have yourself the perfect action movie.  Oh yeah, and it all takes place around Christmas, complete with a Christmas music credit scene.  Truly a gift of a movie.

That’s it for this years edition of my personal Christmas movie favorites.  Hopefully some of these selections will help ease the pain of having to see another Hallmark Christmas special starring Tony Danza on your TV.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to share this gift.  It’s some power metal band who wrote a Christmas song about how Frosty and Rudolph never liked each other.  It’s really funny, and actually pretty well done.




01
Oct
08

Feast starring Henry Rollins

Feast

Feast

Feast is a horror comedy which has bar patrons trapped inside the bar while ferocious creatures (outside) are trying to have them as lunch.

The movie starts by introducing us to each of the main characters not by using story but by flashing up some humerous text (see screen below). While not exactly a ground breaking technique, at least it stops us from sitting through thirty minutes of character stories.

Introducing

Introducing 'Hot Wheels' the cripple.

With character names like ‘Hot Wheels’ (for a guy in a wheel chair) and ‘Honey Pie’, you know from the get go that this movie wants to be politically incorrect and isn’t take itself seriously.

A hero bursts in to the bar and informs the lazy bar goers that there are evil monsters coming, all done in true drama-queen fashion. He is dispatched in a depitation scene, then a female heroine appears. One by one, each patron has a close encounter or is bumped off in a gory fashion.

It’s not all humour as there is also a fair bit of action in the movie too. It wasn’t exactly a demanding part, but I did like Henry Rollins’s (intentional?) self parody, trying to give a team-talk (below) while characters are being butchered.

Henry Rollins (Coach) gives a fine (but utterly hopeless) team talk...

Henry Rollins (Coach) gives a fine (but utterly hopeless) team talk...

The story has few nice twists in it, nothing earth shattering, but still adds some meat to the bones of the story, and also telling us more about the characters.

If a fun movie is what you want then Feast will fit the bill, it’s the kind of movie you used to only get in the 80s, where you could sit, watch some gore, see a cool monster, and have a laugh. A rarity now a days. I’m not sure how popular Feast was on it’s initial release but I know Feast II will be released soon.

that is indeed a monsters tackle, jammed in a door. I even enhanced the brightness of the screenshot for your viewing pleasure. You can thank me later...

that is indeed a monsters tackle, jammed in a door. I even enhanced the brightness of the screen shot for your viewing pleasure. You can thank me later...

Favourite Quote: There’s a monster cock stuck in the door! (above)